I have to say I have grown to like Iain Dale, following that false start the one time I briefly met him three years ago. Admittedly if I were in John Prescott's shoes I would hold a very different view, and like any other leading Conservative blogger, one should not be surprised at some of his views and indeed be aware of that invisible health sticker "This blogger is somewhat right-wing and is a Thatcherite Conservative at the end of the day!" But he is considerate, sincere, gives those of us on the left more time than he might otherwise, and he does wear his heart on his sleeve, which may well both be is success and undoing.
That said I was somewhat surprised to find that he spoke out on his blog today in favour of a UK version of Fox News, if only those pests at Ofcom relaxed their guard a bit! He thinks there is a market for it!
Well that's one way of looking at it, but has Iain actually watched Fox News? I am sure he has, but if there was a pro left news channel as openly biased, as shrill, as bullying as many find Fox, I would feel rather embarrassed.
The ofcom rules are there for a reason. There are many in this country who are not party political, who need to rely on at least one aspect of the media which is neutral and balanced. If people want bias they can find it in the newspapers (bar perhaps The Independent) , and you can hardly compare news channels to the blogosphere. Newspapers, TV, Blogs, Town Criers, they all provide news but each has their own culture and their own style. Blogs are usually individual things, it is in their very nature to provide a degree of bias, TV stations are something else entirely, usually involving literally hundreds of people in front of a broader audience.
As someone who holds a degree in Media and who at one time wanted to be a news journalist, the power of the media and the integrity of the journalist being of unfettered and neutral help, along the lines of a civil servant, is a position I hold dear. The moment we have an openly biased news channel in the UK will be a sad day for journalistic integrity.
Incidentally, talking of biased journalists. Hat tip to Kerron for this. I personally think Paxman came of better and that Ann Coulter was not used to being on a news channel where she was not openly slated or given deference, and therefore was not used to the gentle prodding in the style of a prosecuting lawyer. In any case she strikes me as a dangerous, angry, and bitter woman.